Quebec government cracks down on cannabis edibles

The government in the Canadian province of Quebec is banning the sale of cannabis edibles as Ottawa is set to legalize marijuana-infused candies and topical products in October.

The sale of any desserts laced with cannabis and “any other product that is attractive to minors” will be prohibited, while solid products containing marijuana will not be allowed to have levels of THC higher than 5 milligrams per unit, or 10 milligrams per package.

Meanwhile, liquids will be limited to 5 milligrams of THC per package, and pot-based skin, hair and nail creams will be banned for sale “for the moment”.

Although the federal government has set out measures in an attempt to reduce the appeal of these products to young people, Quebec maintains that the regulations aren’t sufficient to “achieve its public health and safety objectives.”

Cannabis edibles will be available for sale in mid-December in the rest of Canada.

“To reduce the risk of accidental poisoning in children, we are proposing a ban on the sale of products that are attractive to them, like chocolate and gummies,” junior health minister Lionel Carmant of the National Assembly of Quebec said this week.

“This will also allow us to reduce [the consumption] of cannabis products in general,” the politician added.

The Cannabis Council of Canada responded to the ban promptly, stating that the regulation is “disappointing”, and will only hinder efforts by the legal cannabis market to replace the illicit one.

“Yesterday’s decision by the Quebec government to issue draft regulation with respect to edible cannabis products and cannabis extracts is extremely disappointing. If implemented, the efforts of the legal cannabis industry to replace the illicit market and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors will be severely hindered,” board chair of the Cannabis Council of Canada Megan McCrae lamented.

“Stringent rules and regulations are already being put in place by the federal government to ensure that edibles do not fall into the hands of young people,” the CCC added, further noting that the regulated cannabis industry employs thousands of Quebecers.

“The Cannabis Council of Canada is asking the Quebec government to work with Canada’s regulated cannabis industry and find a measured solution that will keep cannabis out of the hands of children and profits away from organized crime,” it concluded.

Quebec previously took a hard line approach to cannabis when it proposed raising the legal age for marijuana consumption to 21, as Carmant argued pot can damage brain neurons in young people.

The Coalition Avenir Québec government also attempted to restrict cannabis smoking in public spaces, however, it abandoned the idea in May.

As the companies await the edibles legalization to take effect, the market for these products in Canada could reach a worth of $2.7 billion, according to a study by Deloitte.

This week also saw Canadian pharmaceutical and cannabis company Tilray announce it has acquired the UK-based Smith & Sinclair, which makes alcoholic sweet treats. The pair will work together on developing CBD-infused edibles that will be distributed in both Canada and the United States. 

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